We’re now ten games into the 2016-2017 season, nearly an eighth of the way through the Timberwolves quest to earn their first playoff berth since KG left town, and it’s safe to say that things haven’t gone exactly the way Wolves fans had hoped. Despite sporting the third most efficient offense in the league, the NBA’s next hipster team enters tonight game against Philadelphia with a 3-7 record, good for 24th in the league. There have been soaring peaks:
As well as humbling defeats. But throughout the early struggles, one thing that has remained constant is how dominant this team is when clicking. Some of the issues that have cost the Wolves wins have been clear from the beginning of the season, while some have only recently poked their heads out of their little hidey holes. But one that has been particularly pernicious is Andrew Wiggins’ inability to knock down late-game free throws. The massive leap Wiggs made in his three point shooting has yet to translate to the charity stripe, and it’s cost the Wolves several times.
So how to fix this problem?
I believe the answer can be found by looking to Dirk Nowitzki, an 88% free throw shooter over his 18-plus season career. You see, dear readers, in a 2006 playoff matchup against the in-state rival Spurs, it came out that to relax and focus at the free throw line, Dirk sang “Looking For Freedom” by fellow countryman David Hasselhoff in his head.
Did Dirk get grief about this admission? You betcha!
But you know what else he got? Two early wins against a higher-seeded opponent that led to an epic Game Seven victory and a trip to the NBA Finals.
For our young Canadian superstar-in-progress, we need to find a song that will help center him at the line, that can play like a mantra when he starts to psych himself out (which he looks like he’s been doing recently). And while there aren’t many Canadian artists who can rival the Hoff in terms of sheer chest-haired ’80s cheese, there are still penty loaded with nostalgia and comfort to pick from.
Without further ado, a collection of suggested listening material to help the real Ender splash twine from the stripe (remember, this is not about what music I like or don’t like. This is strictly about what would be best for Wiggins. I cannot stress enough: this list does not reflect the author’s taste in music):
1. Celine Dion – My Heart Will Go On
This famous tear-jerker has the perfect amount of nostalgia and over-the-top sentimentality, and will help Wiggins keep a silly thing like free throws in perspective. The only way this fails is if the tears glistening in Maple Jordan’s eyes as he reaches the dramatic crescendo keep him from being able to see the basket clearly.
2. Steppenwolf – Born To Be Wild
For those of you keeping track at home, that’s KAT as Peter Fonda and Wiggins as Dennis Hopper. Why? I don’t know, it just feels right. The thing about “Looking for Freedom” is that it’s not particularly epic or intense. It’s upbeat and peppy, and tries to make itself an anthem. “Born To Be Wild” carries on this tradition: an anthem for Young Wiggs to pump himself up to. A possible downside: this song could pump him up too much, thereby causing a wild shot attempt.
3. The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk – Starboy
Did The Weeknd’s hair look way more fun when he was rocking the Shaggy Hoverboard (aka the double Elfrid Payton)? Yes. Is the phrase “I’m a mother-[bleeping] starboy” one of the lamest lines to ever be sung in a R&B song? Quite possibly. But it’s the thought behind the phrase that counts. Andrew Wiggins IS a mother-[bleeping] starboy and it seems like he’s just starting to figure out what that means. Free throws are no problem for a mother-[bleeping] starboy.
4. Nickelback – Hero
Nickelback didn’t let a thing like aggressive mediocrity stand in their way of selling a crapload of overly dramatic Canadian angst-rock for years, so what are you doing letting something as easy as free throws stand in your way of being a winner? Be like Nickelback, but with talent! Make this shot!
–Andrew Wiggins, to himself, presumably.
Bear in mind that these are just a few suggestions. And yeah, you could say “What about Drake and Justin Bieber and Carly Ray Jespen and stuff,” and to that I say you make your own list! No, seriously, let’s all pitch in to help Wiggins find his perfect soul song. Because right now, every time he goes to the line, closes his eyes and takes those two deep breathes, it looks like he’s hearing this: